When I hear a phrase like this, it’s usually in a defensive form. It is the anthem of modern false Christianity and the very poison that keeps many people from seeing the true light.
The truth? Yes, God knows your heart. But what does a statement like that really imply? It’s most common use is along the lines of; “Yes, I’m purposely choosing to sin but God knows that I’m really a good person most of the time.”
Think about it. How many times have you reasoned that in your own mind? Before you get super defensive reading this, I realize that I’ve used this way of thinking to excuse my own sin before too, and it’s not okay. In my own life, I’ve used this terminology to justify my laziness. I love serving in certain capacities, but when it comes to “Domestic” ways of serving (Cooking, cleaning, ect.) I struggle with coming up with excuses. What about you?
This morning I was reading in Luke when I came across this particular passage:
Luke 16:14-15 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.
That didn’t quite feel like the cozy “God knows my heart” saying that passes around. You see, when Jesus taught a hard line message about not loving money, the Pharisees responded in their hearts with contempt. How do you respond to someone calling out your sin? Do you accept the correction or try to justify yourself?
The concept of “God knows my heart” saturates the scriptures pretty deeply. In response to this theology, I’d like to look at a few of the other passages that have similar statements.
Matthew 9:2-6 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”
This passage gives another example of Jesus seeing clearly into peoples’ hearts, and what he saw was less than pleasant. God always sees the evil thoughts we entertain. Sure, maybe it wasn’t your idea, maybe it was something that Satan tried to slip into your heart, but did you entertain it? God may know your heart, but that is certainly not an excuse to live wildly. On the other side, Jesus also saw the faith of the paralytic’s friends. What does God see when he looks into your heart?
Proverbs 15:11 Death and Destruction lie open before the LORD– how much more do human hearts!
Nothing is beyond God’s knowledge. You can’t choose to only let him see the good in you, although many of us are guilty of doing that with the people in our lives, it doesn’t work with God. Your heart lies open before him. Even the things that you don’t quite understand or realize about yourself are as clear as day to God, and if you’re truly following Him, He will take the necessary measures to deal with the evil in your heart.
Hebrews 4:12-13 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
If you will allow it, God’s very word (The Bible) will penetrate and reveal your thoughts and the attitudes of your heart. However, this only helps you if you actually read His word and allow it to cut into your heart. God sees everything, nothing is hidden from his sight. You’re right, God does know your heart, but guess what? He wants to change it.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
One of the saddest misconceptions is that you can “Follow your heart” and somehow get closer to God that way. The sad truth is that your heart is full of tricks and it doesn’t always want the best for your soul. Our hearts are full of deceit and seek to please our own emotions. God is examining our hearts, but we must change the way that we live if we’re going to be close to Him.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Instead of using “God knows my heart” as an excuse to sin, let’s have the heart of David to have God search us and lead us in the right way. Don’t be deceived by your heart, let God’s word cut through those tricks and emotions to get you on the right path. If you’re interested in Bible Studies, please contact me and I’d love to help.